This puppy is just for Christmas

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I I’m a fan of everything Carol Thomas writes, for grown-ups and for kids. We’ve done her first picture book, Finding a Friend, in my book club, so I was excited to see a sequel is out. And I’m a sucker for a Christmas book. So I invited Carol to chat …

Hello Lexi, thank you for having me on your blog to chat about the release of my latest children’s book, Being a Friend at Christmas.

It is the second in my Little Pup series of books, but each can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone story. In this book, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home. But he remembers the dogs he has left behind in the shelter. He has a plan to ensure they have a happy Christmas too, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true.

Being a Friend book cover

Aimed at under 7s, the text is purposefully rhythmic and written in rhyme to make it accessible to its young audience, who can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The pictures are bright and colourful. I illustrated the book myself and had great fun capturing the puppy’s thoughts, feelings and expressions. The book has been described as the ideal gift for all young dog lovers, which is lovely to hear!

As I like my books to be shared and to inspire a conversation, the story also carries a message about being kind, thoughtful and generous. These things are important all year round, but especially at Christmas. At the end of Being A Friend, there is an opportunity for children to make their own Christmas wish.

I always love hearing from readers. At the end of Finding a Friend, readers were asked to name Little Pup; I enjoyed hearing all of the wonderful names he was given. This year, I hope to hear all about the Christmas wishes Little Pup has inspired. If readers would (with help from their parents and carers) like to get in touch, they can do so here: https://www.carol-thomas.co.uk/contact-me/

Thanks Carol! If you’d like to meet the pup, check out this cute book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE

And of course, here’s the purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and has taught in primary schools for just over twenty years.

Carol writes for both adults and children. Her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

To find out more about books by Carol Thomas:

https://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor

Great gratitude journalling

A while ago, I reviewed the ‘365 days of writing‘ journal by Marielle Smith which I absolutely loved, so I leapt at the opportunity to review ‘365 days of gratitude‘.

I confess, journalling doesn’t come naturally to me. I have notebooks filled with lists and ideas and random scribbles, but they aren’t a ‘journal’ as such. I love the idea of the freeform ‘bullet journal’, but when I see pictures of immaculately illustrated ones on Instagram, I feel my terribly messy notebooks are woefully inadequate by comparison. I actually have to remind myself that I’m a writer not an illustrator so it’s hardly surprising.

I’ve also looked at pre-designed journals, but they do tend to be a bit too ‘girly’ and I’m not. So, what about this one? This is a no-nonsense journal focused on results and outcomes. And I love it. Yes it’s a template, yes it’s repeated 365 times. But that’s exactly the point. It’s a tool, and you need to practice using it. Isn’t there a saying that you need to do something 10,000 times for it to become a habit?

365 days of gratitude journal cover

There’s another thing I like about it – the days aren’t fixed, so you can actually dip in and out. I know that’s kind of cheating, but life happens, and I don’t get to use it every day. My 365 days of writing has lasted about twice as long as a regular diary would have. Value for money!

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy … when everything goes according to plan. But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too. Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

Purchase Links 

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy. 

Author biography

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count. 

To infinity and beyond

I don’t often read sci-fi (except for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is one of my favourite re-reads when I need a laugh), but I do love school based stories, so Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins caught my attention. And I’m very glad it did as I think this is the best MG sci-fi I’ve read. I’m always nervous about saying that as someone always points out “but what about …” so maybe I should add “in years” to cover myself!

I feel the author his nicely bridged the gap between the “Planet Stan” chapter books to a full length sci-fi. BUT I’m surprised this is pitched as YA (the Amazon categories are all for adults), as I feel it sits very comfortably in upper middle grade i.e. for 9-12 year olds.

In fact, my only niggle is the cover. It’s a nice enough design, but it screams YA to me and as I said, I reckon this book is MG not YA. The protagonists are thirteen, so why do they look about eighteen on the cover?

This is a shame, as it’s actually a new cover following re-release (sorry!). If you’re curious here is the original cover. Now, the new cover is waaaaay better, but I think it’s still aiming too much at the YA category.

There are strong Hogwarts parallels, not just in the boarding school setting. For example, it has the classic Harry/ Ron/ Hermione triangle, with each character bringing a different background and their own (mis)beliefs as they team up.

The blurb

It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers. 

Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait. 

Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.

Author Bio

In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.  Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.

Book links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

US – https://www.amazon.com/Space-Academy-Hannah-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B0883G654X

More Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds

I listen to audiobooks every day while walking the dog, so what could be more appropriate than a book about dogs! I reviewed the first book recently, and enjoyed it although I was a little surprised to find out it was actually about the house hunt process (like an episode of one of those TV series) rather than life in rural Ireland. Book 2 is about settling in and I absolutely LOVED it!

★ same narrator

★ same dry humour

★ more (and more) dogs

I laughed, I worried, and I want more.

Book cover

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 – Still living the dream in rural Ireland

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

Purchase Links 

Here is the audio link. It is available in ebook and paperback, but I haven’t read it in print format. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0844YCGSS/

Author Bio

Author Nick Albert

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Sequel alert: Esme’s Gift

Esme's Gift book cover

Last year, I featured Esme’s Wish so for those of you who enjoyed it, the sequel has just been released. There’s a giveaway if you’re feeling lucky …

Giveaway to Win 3 x pairs of e-books Esme’s Wish & Esme’s Gift (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494373/?

Blurb

Terror was within. Terror was without.
Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver faces her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift—the power to observe the past—and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends—old and new—travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must face their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is a gripping fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

Fans of Harry Potter will love this book for its similar themes. The genuine friendship of the characters make this book a satisfying read, and hints at a healthy romance in the next book. The conclusion of the trilogy will be greatly anticipated! Sorcha, Goodreads

From dragons diving into volcanoes, Esme and her friends portalling out of art class and deep underwater adventures, Esme’s Gift is quite simply a thrilling and exciting read. Jean, Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Esmes-Gift-Esme-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B0826JWZP4

Author bio

Elizabeth Foster author

I read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago when reading to my own kids reminded me how much I missed getting lost in other worlds. It’s never too late to find and follow your passion! I now have two books published and am about to start writing the third and final story in the Esme series.  My home base is Sydney, where I can often be found running (just kidding – walking) by the water, or scribbling in cafés.

Social media links

Website:  http://www.elizabethfoster.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFosterAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/e_foster3

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elizabethfoster_/